The verdict is in. Former President Donald Trump has been officially banned from Facebook and Instagram until January 7, 2023, a two-year sentence.
Facebook did seek out the assistance of its oversight board before instilling the hefty penalty. Last month, the board met to determine if the original ban was a just punishment and decided that the ban was appropriate.
They tasked Facebook with imposing a suitable timeframe and said it was “not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” with Michael McConnell, co-chair of the panel, telling reporters “indefinite penalties of this sort, do not pass the international or American smell test for clarity, consistency, and transparency.”
Trump was first banned after being accused of making social media posts that incited the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, even though fingers were pointed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the initial lack of security.
“We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” Facebook said in a blog post. “If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”
The panel gave Facebook six months to figure it out. Their verdict comes just one month later, leaving themselves a loophole to extend the ban if they deem fit.
“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said in a statement.
Clegg announced that moving forward, “when we assess content for newsworthiness, we will not treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by anyone else.”
“Instead, we will simply apply our newsworthiness balancing test in the same way to all content, measuring whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm by leaving it up.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki didn’t miss the opportunity to take a jab at the former President. She told reporters Friday, “We learned a lot from President Trump – the former President – over the last couple of years about his behavior and how he uses these platforms. It feels pretty unlikely that the zebra’s going to change his stripes over the next two years.”
Trump attempted to create his own social media platform via blog style but abandoned his efforts after 29 days due to a lack of engagement.
It “will not be returning,” his senior aide Jason Miller told CNBC.
“It was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on,” Miller said via email. “Hoping to have more information on the broader efforts soon, but I do not have a precise awareness of timing.” Miller did not elaborate on what those efforts are.
Many expect Trump to run for President again in 2024, as he has strongly hinted that he might.
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